The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the third woman and first Latina to sit on the Supreme Court never was a done-deal.
It might look like it from the 68 to 31 vote of approval in the Senate Thursday.
But there were bumps along the way, potential derailments that were dealt with and some bizarre resurrections by conservatives of Reagan-era complaints that white males were victims of affirmative action policies that benefit women and minorities.
Here’s what helped Sotomayor clinch the job:
impressive coalitions by liberal advocacy groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, with feminist and reproductive rights groups stifling initial qualms about their uncertainties about her views on abortion;
unwavering support from Team Obama, especially in the midst of early accusations by conservative activists that she was a racist or worse, when even some supporters were nervous about remarks she made in 2001 about the virtues of being a “wise Latina.” She never apologized or took back those thoughts but did acknowledge a “poor choice” of words;
most of all, her own steady performance before the cameras in hearings that had been expected to feature fireworks but instead bordered on boring. Boring was good, in this context. Behind the scenes, Sotomayor visited with an unprecedented number of senators and by all accounts was a charmer. She carried that civility and personal touch into the Senate hearings with gestures, smiles and mini-conversations with GOP senators she knew would oppose her.
A colleague asked me whether I thought this Washington Post article by Amy Goldstein on soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is sexist. I read it over twice–it’s long!–and thought it was quite engaging. It told me a few things …
Are You Biased? Yesterday, Sonia Sotomayor faced down predictably pointed questions from white male Republican senators who seemed to be worried their hegemony might be on the wane. She was asked repeatedly about what biases she might bring to judging …
You might be a C-Span or CNN junkie, but if you are looking for some up close and personal takes on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, here are a couple of other ideas for you:
* The Sunlight Foundation’s “Transparent Justice” gives excellent background on the process and places where you can find information beyond the political smokescreen. Also, I like C-Span’s resource page.
* If you twitter, you can follow Erica Gonzalez, editor of El Diario/La Prensa, the largest Hispanic-oriented newspaper in the country, sototmayorscotus for general updates, or Nan Aron who’ll be tweeting for the Alliance for Justice.
* For additional analysis, see Time magazine’s piece on how the Republicans will try to attack and the Women’s Media Center’s media justice campaign.
Please post your favorite sources for this news in the comments section below. Watch MSNBC’s livestream:
The Women’s Media Center has released a new video, “Media Justice for Sotomayor.” It documents some of the racist and sexist comments already delivered on high profile television programs, radio, print and online outlets.
As Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings approach on July 13th, The Women’s Media Center expects and encourages vigorous debate of Sotomayor’s qualifications & abilities. But we call on the media to refrain from allowing sexist and racist remarks to go unchecked.
You can help the WMC campaign for fair media coverage for Judge Sotomayor:
This is what’s on Anne Doyle’s mind these days as she contemplates the recent rise of women in disparate worlds of politics and business. She’s “tired of tokens and tailblazers”, and looking for real, sustained leadership by women. Thanks, Anne, for sharing this thoughtful post.
What a month it’s been.
First it was an historic, stockholders meeting for Xerox. CEO Anne Mulcahy officially confirmed she willbe retiring July 1st and introduced her personally selected and groomed successor, Ursula Burns. Not only will Burns be the first Black woman to head a Fortune 500 company, she and Mulcahy have also charted the path of another milestone: the first woman-to-woman CEO handoff in Fortune 500 history.
The Glass Wall: The People vs. Obama’s Supreme Court nomination
by Diane Walsh
Penetrating Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy is proving no easy task. Will we get the information we need to properly evaluate the merits of the US President’s ambiguous choice for the high court – before it’s too late? The media is in a frenzied state over this nominee – Judge Sonia Sotomayor. One would expect this, given the stakes that her nomination holds for the fate of abortion rights – which are currently hanging in the balance.
What is Sotomayor’s view about a woman’s right to make childbearing decisions? Oddly, there is nothing concrete that we know about her actual judicial philosophy. No one seems to know exactly – because there is no clear answer being laid bare.
This is creating much unease on both sides of the political spectrum. There is a fundamental lack of information flowing. This is unacceptable. I decided to seek out Gloria Feldt, former president of US Planned Parenthood, to get her take on the Sotomayor nomination. She’s the quintessential trailblazer of the pro-choice lobby.
Gloria initiated the Prevention First Act and reintroduction of a new, improved, Freedom of Choice Act. Her “fight forward” mission is further exemplified on her blogs and through her speeches and writings, all accessible through her website: www.gloriafeldt.com, including 30 years on the frontline. So, needless to say, she’s in a position to evaluate the ‘threats’ that Sotomayor presents, if any, should Sotomayor be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.
Diane Walsh: Have you managed to find out whether Judge Sotomayor believes that Roe vs. Wade is “settled law” (under the precept of stare decisis)?
Yesterday, Alan Colmes’ new show, strategyroom.com, caught up with me as I was running from meeting to meeting in the rain, and asked me to talk with them about Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination especially related to her reproductive rights decisions. Here’s the video segment, where you’ll see the right-wing guest Wendy Long, acknowledging that the Republicans probably wouldn’t support any Obama nominee. Alan had some great examples of how the issues of empathy and personal life experiences have been used in the past to argue for SCOTUS nominees that might surprise you. Take a look: